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    Northeastern Students Stand in Solidarity

    Approximately 50 Northeastern University students came to Dewey Square today to show their support for Occupy Boston by demonstrating with the occupiers. The students—who marched from Northeastern’s Centennial Common—stood in the middle of Atlantic Avenue, right in front of Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and obstructed traffic in a stand of solidarity with the nation-wide Occupy Movement after they voted to do so using a process of direct democracy.

    Northeastern Students voted unanimously to occupy Atlantic Avenue in the Financial District following their march. (Photo by Tyler Pendleton, via Facebook.)

    Occupiers on NECN

    Occupiers Acacia Brewer and Jason Potteiger spoke on NECN earlier about Occupy Boston and clarified some misconceptions. Check it out here.

    Tufts Professor’s Op-Ed Supports Occupy Boston

    Published October 4, 2011 in the Tufts Daily student newspaper. 

    By Gary Goldstein

    Several articles, op−eds and an editorial have appeared related to Occupy Boston. I went down to Occupy Boston Sunday afternoon. I ran into another Tufts faculty member and an alumnus. It wasn’t easy to find other Tufts people among the several hundred encamped there. I know some of you were there.

    Why did I go down to Occupy Boston? I saw the news that 700 “Occupy Wall Street” people were arrested in New York City! Is that freedom of speech? “Freedom of speech” for large corporations, e.g. Bank of America, Exxon−Mobil and General Electric was recently guaranteed by the Supreme Court. Corporations can virtually buy politicians and elections. What about the rights of citizens to protest? You might say, “Well, they blocked traffic!” What could threaten civil order more, blocking traffic and the inconvenience it causes, or taking away people’s homes, employment, health benefits, retirement pensions and education opportunities? Do we sit back while corporate and government policies leave 25 million people unemployed or underemployed? Do we accept that sending people away to endless wars of destruction is how our economy should be funneled? Do we accept that the United States has the highest prison population — well over 1 million — among industrialized nations? Do we tolerate the further erosion of opportunities for the growing numbers of poor among us? Well, 700 people who do not accept and tolerate these intolerable circumstances were arrested for speaking, shouting, protesting and marching. So I went to Occupy Boston. I urge you to do the same.

    The Occupy Boston camp is a very impressive undertaking. People, mostly under 40 years old, are very well organized in non−hierarchical, open democratic ways, committed to the cause of economic equity and settled in for a long haul. They are attracting local media attention, at least for now. The police are not large in numbers. The feeling is very upbeat and hopeful. I am reminded of sit−ins, teach−ins and occupations of administration buildings over many years of being politically active during my time at Tufts and earlier. It is a good feeling! It will grow.

    The criticisms that there is not a single guiding message or an identifiable leader are premature and, perhaps, misguided. Successful movements don’t spring up, fully formed out of nowhere. They build gradually, attract more and more attention and gel around central issues. Looking back at popular history can be misleading. Charismatic leaders like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela didn’t appear overnight with full−blown movements of thousands. They emerged from long struggles carried forward by hundreds of anonymous supporters of causes and strategies that cohered over time. Workers’ rights, gay rights, women’s rights, social welfare programs, unionism, the ending of the Vietnam War, the reduction of nuclear weapons all resulted from the efforts of thousands of people, now unknown, who were fired up to demand change.

    We should support the beginnings of a movement that aims to ameliorate the social and economic inequalities that now plague the United States. We see huge corporations and banks cutting costs and workers, sending work abroad, while pulling in record profits. Most members of Congress spend their days cutting budgets for social programs, education, health and welfare, scientific research and grants for states and cities. The results we see — increasing unemployment and misery for many, especially among minorities, while the United States wages indefensible, enormously expensive wars of destruction, ruining the future for Americans and threatening the rest of the world. Tufts students are not immune. The search for suitable jobs after graduation will be difficult.

    We are living in difficult times. Without support for meaningful change we will be left with declining prospects for the fair and equitable society that we all hope to inhabit in the future. There is much hope in this new movement. Go downtown to Occupy Boston! With your support and participation we may see a movement grow and succeed.

    Gary Goldstein is a professor of physics and astronomy.

    Slideshow from Today’s General Assembly

    Click here to see the slideshow!

    And yesterday’s:

    Via scotteisenphotography Flickr

    The Guardian and Other Press: If You Haven’t Seen It, Check it Out

    All press is good press? Maybe, maybe not… this is what the media is saying about Occupy Boston.

    The Guardian says: “… the people behind Occupy Boston showed a strong dose of media savvy and organisational skill on Monday night, as they drew a committed crowd of volunteers to their cause: to occupy a slice of the city. Local TV crews were in attendance at the evening mass planning meeting, and it had been flagged on the front pages of Boston’s newspapers.”

    The Boston Metro says: “What started off as a jumbled swarm of 200-plus activists with varying viewpoints slowly molded into a working machine with multiple messages. The Boston Common gazebo filled up fast before protesters separated into tactical groups to discuss food, shelter, occupational areas, media and legalities.”

    WHDH Channel 7 posts a video and says: “People were there to rally against corporate greed, banks, corporations and politicians that bailed them out. The group is also opposing cuts to Medicare and social services to the poor, along with tax breaks for the rich.”

    The Daily Free Press at BU says: “Hundreds of citizens frustrated with the economy gathered at the Boston Common gazebo on Monday to organize a protest sparked by the Occupy Wall Street movement.”

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